Using a Scrim as a Cyc (sortof)


Active Member
Hey again,

I was wondering if it is possible to have a setup (as shown below) work, and if so/or/ if not, how would you go about doing this? My theatre dept at my school has fallen to the way side recently due to us receiving two new teachers who arent of much help.

I want to know if you have a scrim, backlit (and ONLY the scrim being lit, nothing infront, nothing behind it) if you can use it as a cyc-ish thing. Hehe.

bckdrop space scrim
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I haven't use a scrim for anything too "complicated" before, just seen it used. If i was to place fixtures behind the scrim (in the area marked "space") and use it to wash the rear of the scrim with a blue color, on the other side would you see the blue wash only? The backdrop and everything in between? nothing?

I want to have the whole show have the backdrop seen; however, during one special instance, I want everything to go out except a funky special in one small area around a set piece (WAY far away DS of the scrim on the apron), and have a simple blue "cyc" effect with the silowhett(sp) of the trees. They will be creepy sort of trees when silowetted, but have color on them so when lights are up on the front of them they appear as part of the forest. I think it would work, but would it show as much as I'd like it to? *see picture for details*

I don't really have any other options than trying this out, and if not you're welcome to suggest things that I might be able to tweak and alter for our budget and set. I'm a student, not a teacher so I won't be able to go out and buy anything really unless I get them to, so...hehe, good luck to me.

rough image:

Any help would be appreciated.


Active Member
I just did an experiment with a small piece of muslin fabric I had around my house. Yes, it's not sharkstooth woven or anything but it's pretty close.

I backlit it with a small "birdie" Par 16 light and put a piece of blue gel over it which i had (for some reason). It, believe it or not worked like a charm and did not reflect off of the black onto anything behind it.

I'm not sure if I made it clear, I am using a BLACK scrim.


Well-Known Member
Bill is right, you've got it backwards... light it from downstage at a steep angle same as you would a cyc (unless you backlight cycs, some people do...)

If it helps you can think of it as lighting the scrim and not whats behind it, similar to how you can see something in the fog if it is lit, but if you light up the fog all you can see is the fog.

I've blue lit black scrims before, it looks pretty nice. I do as I explained and it works wonderfully. Just make sure there is no light behind the scrim, anything that is lit can be seen.


Active Member
Incase anyone was curious as to my result was with this, the scrim was hung today and I came and did some light stuff for a little bit and my plan worked very well. I just have to add some diffusion and the correct gel colors.

Lighting the scrim from the bottom at a decent angle makes it look nice. Washes the fabric with a nice color and looks solid. Only a little bleeding on the backdrop that's located behind the scrim about 10 feet and that'll be fixed with a few shutters/barndoors.

I'm sure it would've been a bit easier from the front, but with this set it would be practically impossible to light from the front and still get the shadows and sillouettes that I want.

Thanks for your help everyone! I'll try and post a few pictures, so you can see how it turned out, sometime.
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